If you’ve ever seen coffee cherries “in the wild”, you’ll know they look very different from the fragrant beans we associate with the world’s favorite caffeinated drink. In their natural form, the seeds of the cherries – which we know as coffee beans – are green and moist.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Best Coffee Roasters Of 2020
Commercial coffee roasters have large specialized ovens to turn the cherries into coffee beans. But have you ever wondered about roasting your own coffee, in the comfort of your own home? We take a look at some of the very best home coffee roasters on the market.
Our Winner: Fresh Roast SR540
You know we hate to keep you in suspense any longer than we need to. So now you know – we reckon the best home coffee roaster is the Fresh Roast SR540.
You can roast a decent amount of coffee beans at any one time. It’s easy to use and good value for money. There’s even a nine-way adjustment you can make on the settings to get just the right roast for you.
The Household Coffee Roaster Machine is designed for a domestic setting, but it might also be suitable for a small coffee shop. It’s perfect for roasting between 11 and 18 ounces of coffee beans at a time, and you can also use it for nuts, peanuts, and popcorn. Amounts vary depending on what you’re roasting.
The temperature can be adjusted from 0 to 240 degrees, giving you great control over the items you’re roasting, and the food-grade coating reassures you that it’s safe to use and easy to clean.
- 1. Application: You can use it not only to bake coffee beans, but also to bake popcorn, peanuts and nuts.
- 2. Capacity: can bake 300-500g at a time.
- 3. Temperature adjustable: 0-240 degree temperature adjustable, according to the need to adjust the baking temperature.
- 4. Safety assurance: Food-grade coating, you can use it safely, and it's easy to clean.
- 5. Lovely gifts: a beautiful and generous coffee bean roaster, you can give your family and friends at the festival, they will like it!
The second crack in this machine takes about 25 minutes. On average, it’ll take about 40 minutes for a dark roast of around 18 ounces of raw coffee. After about 35 minutes, the moderate roast is complete.
Once the beans are baked to your satisfaction, sieve any silver residue, or use a hairdryer on a cool setting to bring the temperature of the beans down. The machine has a one year warranty on all parts as long as it is used in line with manufacturers’ recommendations.
This roaster has also been used to roast sesame seeds and hazelnuts, but make sure you clean it well before you go back to coffee to avoid any unwanted flavors.
Pros & Cons
So you already know that “new kid on the block” SR540 was our “roaster of choice”. Now we get to tell you in a little more detail why.
We love the real-time temperature display, one year warranty, and the 9 levels of settings for the heat and fan. It’s really easy to adjust the fan, heat, and roasting time – you just push the knob. The roasting chamber is larger, so you can roast 4 ounces of beans at a time.
And the real-time temperature read-out option gives you huge amounts of control over your roast. Just turn the knob to the right. We found that the fan needed to be set at around a 6 for optimum movement of the beans. And a heat setting of 8 or above was best for roasting. Around 9 minutes at the highest heat setting results in a medium roast, and it took around 45-55 minutes for 4 batches.
Our only slight disappointment was that chaff baskets and top lids from earlier SR roasting models wouldn’t fit. We were pleased, though, to find out that it’s pretty easy to get replacement lids for the chaff collector. You might need to supplement the chaff collector with a colander to collect the roasted beans. During the roasting process, you don’t need to worry about stirring.
You get a handy cup to make sure you don’t overfill the roaster – once you’ve filled it four times, that’s plenty for a batch. The measuring cup is around one tablespoon, capacity wise. It measures 14.7 by 8.3 by 9.3 inches and weighs just 4.75 pounds.
The default timer is 8 minutes although we found that the first crack from the roasted beans was often a little before that. We liked the hands-on approach you had to take with this roaster.
Pros & Cons
And so to our top performer. With the KALDI Home Coffee Roaster not only do you get the roaster, but it also ships with a thermometer, hopper, and probe rod; you even get a chaff holder. It’s not the cheapest machine we looked at, but you do get a lot for your dollars.
The name alone made us smile – Kaldi is the putative name of the original coffee aficionado. Legend has it that his goats were responsible for drawing attention to the invigorating effects of coffee beans.
- KALDI Motorize Coffee Roaster
- Gas Burner Required
- Body, Thermometer, Hopper, Probe Rod, Chaff Holder Included
- Free Volt Adapter Included
We really liked that this can run on AC or DC. It’s made of stainless steel; the thermometer goes up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit. You can roast around 7 ounces of coffee at a time (the maximum is 8.8 ounces). The whole machine measures 14.1 by 8 by 22.1 inches, with the dimensions of the stirring drum 4.72 inches by 4.53 inches, and a thickness of 0.8 inches. It weighs about 9.2 pounds ounces in total – this is a serious machine.
The roast time is easily adjustable from 10 minutes to over 15 minutes, and it’s suitable for use in a domestic setting with a gas burner and range hood. The open end of the drum is angled upwards, avoiding spilling of beans when rotating, and it’s super easy to hear the first and second cracks in the drum opening.
You even get a trier (probe rod) to allow you to sample beans while roasting. You get a good, rapid roast if you simply leave the burner set on medium. The convection airflow is very decent.
Plus, there’s only minimal maintenance required – cleaning of the chaff collector and surface. It’s a good idea to have fire-resistant gloves or oven mitts to hand though as this really does get hot.
Pros & Cons
If it’s a budget option you’re looking for, look no further. The Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster really helps stretch the pennies. You can roast between one ounce of beans and 2.5 ounces at a time – we found about an ounce gave the best results.
The waffle-shape of the internal structure means you know you are always going to get a great equal roast. The opening at the back means you can enjoy the lovely cracking noise that tells you your beans are roasting well.
- Material: Body- Ceramic, Grip-Genuine cowhide
- Eco Ceramic Roaster: 100% ceramic
- Waffle-shaped internal structure: equal roasting
- Can enjoy a popping sound due to the rear hole
- ontent: 1xCeramic Handy Roaster, Made in Korea
It measures 9.9 by 6.4 by 3 inches and weighs just 12 ounces. (It’s 1.15 pounds with shipping.) The machine ships with a scoop to help you get just the right measurements. The body is 100% ceramic, so the heat conductivity is excellent. This is not, however, suitable for use with induction stovetops. The grip is made from genuine cowhide.
You’re likely to find around 10 minutes will result in a decent roast; if you’re using a gas burner, then the coffee will have reached the first crack and be about to start the second crack within that time. You need to keep a careful eye on the beans once they’ve reached the dark roast stage to make sure they don’t burn.
Pros & Cons
Our final contender for the title of the best home coffee roaster is the NESCO 4818-12. This classic 1425 watt roaster oven has a porcelain cookwell; the one we looked at was a mouth-watering red, with a capacity of 18 quarts, or around 692 fluid ounces.
You might think that the Nesco Roaster is only suitable for Thanksgiving turkey. Well, think again – not only is it ideal for roasts, cookies, cakes, pies, and stews – you can also use it to roast coffee.
- Exclusive "Circle of Heat" heating element
- Removable coated steel cookwell
- Adjustable thermostat to 425 degrees
- Stainless Steel Body and Lid
- 18-Quart capacity
This NESCO coffee roaster is available in other sizes and other colors – including stainless steel, silver/black, silver, and red/white/blue. It performs all oven functions except for broiling, and the temperature can be adjusted up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a super-useful indicator light that turns off when the roaster gets to the appropriate temperature.
The cookwell surface is scratch-resistant, and also resists chips, corrosion, scratches, and stains. We love the unique “circle of heat’ heating element and the fact that the porcelain cookwell is removable. The dome of the cover is extra-high.
It measures 15.5 inches by 11.75 inches high, by 22 inches deep and weighs around 15.7 pounds. The removable steel rack has lift-out handles and the Circle of Heat technology makes for an even cooking experience.
Pros & Cons
While it’s not available right now, we need to give the Behmor 5400 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster an honorable mention. You can roast up to a pound of beans at a time, and there are five customizable settings.
- Roast up to 1 pound per batch, the largest capacity among home roasters available. Five customizable roast profile settings, and manual roasting override
- Thermostatically controlled quartz roasting elements and variable speed rotating roasting drum for an even performance
- Efficient cooling cycle; easy chaff separation with removable chaff tray and drum for simple clean up
- Lighted interior for viewing of the roast process; Product dimensions: 9 x 9 x 15.2 inches. 1 year warranty.
Best Home Coffee Roasters – Buying Guide
We’ve looked at five of the best in detail. Certain principles apply no matter what coffee roaster you choose.
Is The Effort Worth It To Roast Your Own Coffee?
If you’ve got the time and facilities to roast your own coffee, you’ll notice the difference at once. Still not sure? Think of the difference between fresh pasta and dried pasta.
There’s room for both, depending on your circumstances, but if you have the time, fresh is generally agreed to be best. Plus, it’s fun.
How To Choose Coffee Beans
As with any culinary activity, the key is to start with the best ingredients – in this case, green beans. In an ideal world, you’d try the beans first, but if that isn’t practical, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Start with the origin of the beans and the likely flavor profile. If you like a coffee that will produce a good dark roast, then Indonesia or Sumatra varieties might suit you.
How To Choose Your Home Coffee Roaster Machine
You’ve found your supplier. You’ve decided on a flavor profile. Now it’s time for a little natural magic.
First, decide on your equipment. Do you need a home coffee roaster for use over a flame or gas burner? Or would you rather have an electric device?
How much space do you have available? How good is the ventilation in your kitchen? What are you going to do with the chaff that roasting produces? How much do you want to spend, how much are you going to roast at any given time, and how much time do you have for maintenance?
Assuming all of those questions have been answered, let’s get on with the task in hand. Most dedicated home coffee roasters will either provide you with a measuring scoop or give you very clear instructions on how much coffee to use.
Measure out your beans, consult your manual to see the best way to load your machine, and set the temperature, timer, and in some cases, the fan. It’s going to take a little trial and error at first, probably – but then, as with all things coffee, it’s as much an art as a science.
Light, Medium Or Dark – Your Guide To Roast Levels
At first, the beans will stay a sort of greenish color. Gradually, the green will give way to a light shade, not unlike that of hay, or peanuts. You’re likely to smell hints of hay or grass.
What you’re looking for next is the first crack. The surface of the bean becomes wrinkled as it dries out. You’re likely to smell toast or baking, and you’ll notice steam arising from the beans. And then you’ll hear it – that distinctive first crack.
Sugars are released. Water escapes. And if you like a delicate light roast, this is the time to stop the roasting process and progress to the next stage. (We outline it below in “Basic Steps”.)
If, however, you prefer a medium, medium-dark, or dark roast, then you need to keep going. It’s really up to you.
How Long Does It Take To Roast Your Own Coffee?
Depending on how dark a roast you want, the amount of time you need to spend roasting the coffee beans may vary between devices. Typically, however, for a small batch, you can expect the process to take around 10 minutes. For larger batches, you’re likely to need around 15 or 16 minutes.
Once caramelization has occurred, then you’re really listening for the second crack. The beans expand. The color darkens. And there’s a second, audible crack. We don’t recommend continuing to roast beyond that second crack, especially if you’re new to home roasting.
How To Roast Coffee Beans – The Basic Steps
So we’ve talked about measuring the beans, adding them to the roaster, setting the temperature, time, and fan. You’ve listened for one or two cracks. You’ve watched the color deepen and you’ve smelled the glorious scents of freshly roasting coffee. And now your beans are ready for the next part of the process.
You now need to remove the coffee beans from the roaster and add them to a metal colander. You know how an omelet or scrambled eggs keep cooking that little while longer, even when removed from the stove?
Well, the same applies to coffee beans. There’s a substantial amount of latent heat. This really is the bit where artistry and practice come in as you probably want to remove the beans from the roaster just before they reach your optimum roast.
The next stage is to cool the beans. You may have purchased a home coffee roaster that incorporates a fan; if not, you need to get the temperature down. Slowly. We even know of folk who use fans or even hairdryers on a very cool setting. This blows away the chaff. (For obvious reasons, we’d recommend doing this outside.)
Once your beans have cooled to room temperature or below, think about storage. Around a day’s venting should get rid of any stray carbon dioxide before they’re stowed away snug and safe in an airtight container. If you’re going to use your beans for espresso, we’d recommend a few days of venting.
Once your roasted beans are stored in a cool, dry, airtight container, they should stay good for around 6 months. The same applies to unroasted green beans.
Is It Worth It, Roasting Your Own Coffee?
While it depends on your own circumstances, roasting your own coffee gives your brew a truly personal touch. So yes, we think it’s worth it. (Obviously not if you’re in a mad rush, but if you’ve got a little time to spare, then yes, give it a go. And with the new model best home coffee roasters out there now, it’s easier than ever.
Since at least one of the home coffee roasters we investigated offered an option to make popcorn, you might be wondering, can I roast coffee beans in a dedicated popcorn maker? Well, the answer’s no.
Best Home Coffee Roaster – Our Verdict
Our Winner: Fresh Roast SR540
We loved putting this selection of the best coffee roasters through their paces. While they all essentially get you to the same end result – delicious roasted coffee beans, ready to grind – they all offer slightly different features.
For ease of use and overall performance, our choice of five remains the Fresh Roast SR540. It’s great value, you get a decent amount of space to roast, and above all, the beans come out tasting, and smelling, utterly delicious. So, really, wake up and smell the coffee!
Hi my name is Larry, a coffee aficionado from the US. I have already visited Colombia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Jamaica in my pursuit of finding the best-tasting coffee beans. I currently write from Bali and enjoy the relaxed life that you can find only in Indonesia. Welcome to my coffee world!
Last update on 2020-07-12 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.